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There’s only one you, and your one rare life. Make the most of it by feeling good and taking care of your wellbeing, with sauna. Physically, nothing is more reinvigorating than a deep, healthy sweat every day. Tension fades. Muscles unwind. And you emerge relaxed, revived and ready for whatever the day may bring.
A few minutes a day is all it takes to look and feel better. The body’s response to gentle, persistent heat is well-documented and proven day-in and day-out by people all over the world. Which is why more and more doctors are recommending sauna and its purifying benefits.
Heat has the power to heal in so many ways, thanks to the body’s ability to respond to it. Sweat production, heart rate increases, hormone releases, and more are all ways the body reacts to heat. And each response, whether physiological or psychological, offers profound health benefits for your heart, brain, skin, muscles, joints, mental health, emotional wellbeing, and the list goes on. You’ll learn more about these as you continue reading. The sauna heat combined with your preferred ambiance creates a powerfully relaxing, rejuvenating, healing, and therapeutic space. As you settle in, the heat takes over and nourishes your body and mind. In short, regular sauna bathing is a wonderful, feel-good and good-for-you addition to your overall health and wellness plan.
A 25-year study conducted with more than 2,300 participants at the University of Eastern Finland by Dr. Jari Laukkanen and his colleagues revealed regular sauna use (4-7 times per week) at 176 degrees F for 19 minutes lowered the risk for both Alzheimer’s & Dementia by upwards of 65%.
Medical research shows that sauna bathing may also aid in reducing risk associated with high blood pressure, stroke, and all-cause mortality and fatal cardiac incidents. In response to high temperatures, core body temperature rises – dialating skin and increasing cardiac output/circulation. Similar to the physiological responses produced by excercise, the higher temperatures of a sauna may also cause the heart rate to rise, from 60-70 bpm to 110-120 bpm (140-150 bpm with more intensive bathing). Increased heart rate helps circulate oxygen and blood to your muscles faster, lowering cholesterol and increasing calories burned.
Saunas are simply one of many tools to facilitate calorie burn. Sweating requires a notable amount of energy, which is derived from the conversion of fat and carbohydrates in a bodily process that burns calories. According to U.S. Army medical research (Ward Dean,
M.D.), “A moderately conditioned person can easily sweat off 500 grams in a sauna in a single session, consuming nearly 300 calories in the process.” The body burns said calories due to the acceleration of heart activity (see section above on Cardiovascular Health). As heart activity increases and as these processes demand more oxygen, the body begins to convert more calories into usable energy.
Heat bathing is one of the oldest health and beauty strategies in terms of cleansing one’s skin. When the body begins to produce sweat via deep sweating, the skin is then cleansed and dead skin cells are replaced – keeping your skin in good working condition. Sweating flushes out dirt and bacteria from the epidermal layer while leaving behind a minimal amount of beneficial oils. Cleansing of the pores has been shown to improve capillary circulation, while giving the skin a softer-looking appearance and healthy glow. Regular sauna use can help purify the body from the inside out!
The heat in the sauna helps us to relax and regulate the level of cortisol in our blood. Cortisol is the hormone that is released when stressed; significant and consistently elevated levels of cortisol can lead to a number of health issues, such as immune system weakness and troubled sleep. Sauna bathing reduces the levels of cortisol in the blood and stimulates the production of serotonin, the “happy hormone” to make you feel good.
In the heat of a sauna core body temperature rises and sweating begins. Sweat production is primarily designed to cool the body, and is composed of 99% water. However, deep sweating in a sauna can help reduce levels of lead, copper, zinc, nickel, mercury, as well as food additives, preservatives and other environmental toxins in the body which are absorbed simply from interacting with daily environments.
German sauna medical research shows that saunas were able to significantly reduce the incidences of colds and influenza among study participants. As the body is exposed to the heat of a sauna and steam (in the case of traditional sauna), it produces white blood cells more rapidly, which in turn helps to fight illnesses and kill viruses. In addition, saunas can relieve the uncomfortable symptoms of sinus congestion from colds or allergies.
Sauna relaxes muscles and soothes aches/pains in both muscles and joints. Under the high-heat of a sauna, the body releases endorphins which can minimize pain. Also, as the body temperature rises in the heat of the sauna, blood vessels dilate allowing for increased blood circulation, which in turn speeds up the body’s natural healing process. After physical activity, allow the heat and steam of a sauna to promote muscle relaxation by reducing muscle tension and eliminating lactic acid and other toxins that may be present.
The important social benefits of sauna are often underrated or dismissed entirely. While the sauna can be a private, personal area of relaxation and solitude, it can just as easily be a perfect environment for socializing with family, friends, and soon-to-be-friends. The sauna room environment is conducive to open, intimate, and quiet conversation.
Research has shown that a deeper, more relaxed sleep can result from sauna use. In addition to the release of endorphins, elevated body temperatures resulting from a late evening sauna, fall at bedtime. This slow, relaxing decline in endorphins is key in facilitating sleep. Sauna bathers worldwide enjoy the deep sleep experiences resulting from the calming heat of an evening sauna. As a result of a good night’s sleep, many sauna users have reported a marked increase in their energy levels and overall feeling of wellbeing the following day.
RELAXATION & REJUVENATION
Now that you know sauna is good for you, you should also know it just feels good, too. Whether it’s the physiological changes that occur during the warmth of a sauna, or simply the time spent in the calming and still retreat, every seasoned sauna bather agrees – it feels wonderful! As we progress through our everyday lives, the sauna provides a pampering retreat – where we can relax and restore body and soul. It’s the best addition to your personal self-care routine.
Many studies have shown that regular sauna use with löyly and certain aromatherapy oils can benefit those with sinus congestion and
infections. Additionally, people with lung and respiratory issues have experienced improved respiratory function and ease of breathing during and after sauna use.
*Certain health issues may not be suitable for sauna use. Always consult your physician prior to any form of heat bathing. Though our saunas are not FDA-registered medical devices, and thus don’t make any specific claims on the health benefits achieved by regular sauna bathing, there are numerous, well-done and peer-reviewed sauna medical studies that suggest tremendous health benefits can be achieved with regular sauna bathing. The articles in our Health and Wellness Library at www.finnleo.com may be of interest to you to get a deeper understanding about the link between sauna and wellness.